Life – With a pinch of salt

Everything passes. It has to. That's the beauty and tragedy of it.

Gone Girl – A review

Gone Girl…Hmm…Now that is a real mindF#*k of a movie. When I first saw the trailer, I saw all the hallmarks of a typical David Fincher movie – crisp story, powerful actors and mind-boggling byzantine twists that invariably leave the viewer stunned in the end and at the same time craving for more. I knew it was going to be fun and I couldn’t wait to watch it.

Just a few days before the release of the movie I also happened to get hold of Gillian Flynn’s novel from which the movie had been adapted. That put me in a dilemma as to whether I should go ahead and read the book first or watch the movie that was coming out anyway. I have always opted to read the book of any movie adaptation (a personal choice since I find the whole story in the book and in the wholesome perspective that the author originally intended, while the movie version has various bits and pieces left out or modified to suit the screenplay) but in this case, the lure of the movie was too much. Ben Affleck was making a comeback after quite a while and seemed just as dreamy as ever! So I decided to read the book to whatever extent I could without actually finishing it. That way my curiosity about the climax would be alive while watching the movie. That seemed like a good idea – and I wasn’t disappointed by either since there was little variation. The movie did great justice to the book and was a real treat in every way!

Anyway. Coming back to the story at hand. I think I liked the way the reader/viewer is not just kept on tenterhooks about the whereabouts of Amy Dunne (played by the gorgeous Rosamund Pike), but also how the author skillfully manipulates the reader’s psyche and loyalties with her master story-telling. She takes you on a roller-coaster ride, first making you side with the naïve, implicitly trusting Amy, constantly wary of the husband’s motives even as his narrative seems perfectly plausible. You hear Amy’s rendition of her married life through her diary entries and you are sympathizing with a lovelorn girl gone missing. You are almost ready to mentally burn the husband at the stake for doing away with his wife in some obscure way, when – BAM! You are jolted out of your ‘unshakeable’ faith to find out that the seemingly ingenuous Amy was not so much of a wronged damsel in distress at all!

Nick Dunn – the ‘wrong-doer’ was indeed the ‘wrong-done-onto’ husband who was in fact being tried not for his insensitiveness, but for his stoic nature that prevented him from displaying his true emotions no matter how terse the situation. Talk about being indicted for having a robotic nature! True he was unfaithful to his wife. True he had fallen out of love with her. But it was also true that he was tired of being tied down to a manipulative, peremptory woman who couldn’t accept being slighted in any way – presumed or real. She took to extremes and there was nothing ‘in-between’ for her. Anyone who didn’t toe Amy’s line had to face Amy’s line of fire. And he was sick of being made the bad guy all the time. So he strayed – as any self-serving cowardly husband would do – and fell prey to his wife’s uncontrollably vindictive nature. Now that is not something every wife always does, be it for lack of courage or fear of the law, even if the thought does cross her mind some time or the other.

So Amy was a vengeful woman who wanted her pound of flesh for not being loved for who she really was, not being thought capable of being less than perfect, being jilted for a much younger, prettier, undemanding chit of a girl. So she didn’t want any children like any other domesticated wife would, hinging her entire life’s happiness on his every whim and fancy. So she was methodically precise and calculating enough to be patient, biding her time to hit hard where it hurt most. So what? Was it too much to ask to be loved not as a person’s notion of how a woman should be, but as a woman who even with all her failings was willing to go to any extent for the sake of her love. She was willing to mitigate her revenge, no matter how extreme and come back to her husband in the end, only if she could get an apology out of him. Was that too much to ask – an apology for being cast away in such an unceremonious way?

Yes the story layers the woman Amy Dunn in many shades of character and complexities. The story makes her out to be a vile vindictive b*$@# for demanding to be just who she was – in all her grey shades – and for not being able to be loved for who she was. She is portrayed as a woman to be feared to the extent that every married man who watches the movie (or reads the book) begins to question the sanity and extent of vengefulness of his own wife. However one cannot deny in a hurry that she is not the epitome of woman – an exaggerated version perhaps – but with a grain of truth that makes people pause, wonder and shudder.

The story ultimately makes people ponder on the baseness of human nature and debate about the boundaries of wrong and right set by the society that is primarily misogynistic. For, the society can hardly digest the fact that a woman – the embodiment of love, affection, care and tolerance – can be infuriated enough to perform heartless acts against the very person she loves. But why is it hard to accept that, woman or not, she is a person. She is not immune to the ravages of society, and can be affected by its pressures and burdened by expectations just as a man can be. Why is it okay for men to stray while a woman has to always abide by social boundaries, lest she be labeled a base woman, a slut, or something even worse? is it not worth a long, deep thought?

For me, ‘Gone Girl’ will always be an edifying story that managed to make a dent in my psyche. I concede to appreciating the underlying irony in the author’s rendition of the character of Amy Dunn.

P.S: After watching the movie, because I was so open about appreciating the character of Amy Dunn so much, my husband looked at me askance and furtively placed a pillow between us in bed, afraid that I would probably “do him in” in his sleep!!!

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2015 by in Book review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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